SA man who was adopted by US couple pens heart-warming letter to Door of Hope: ‘You gave me a great start through love and care’

Thomas Mark Phiri Stahler. (PHOTO: Supplied)
Thomas Mark Phiri Stahler. (PHOTO: Supplied)

A heartening picture recently went viral on social media of a little girl waiting for adoptive parents to arrive at a Joburg orphanage.

Door of Hope has been doing remarkable work for years, saving abandoned children.

Under the leadership of Pastor Cheryl Allen, the church made a hole in a wall where mothers can leave their babies in a “baby box” any time of the day or night for the church to take care of them.  

And the organisation continues to inspire.

Thanks to the Door of Hope, many children have found loving homes.

A young man who now lives in America has written to the NGO thanking it for what it did for him.

“Most of you wouldn’t know me, but my name is Thomas Mark Phiri Stahler. My name used to be Thomas Phiri,” his letter begins.

His mom gave birth to him while she was under the care of the Baby House.

He was then adopted by his “forever parents” pastor Bob and Marcy Stahler from the US when he was nine months old.

“Before that, I lived with uncle Don and auntie Cheryl. Although I was young, I’ll never forget any of you,” he says.

Thomas has since graduated from high school and started college in September.

“I have a job, and I just bought a car. I love sports and play basketball, lacrosse, [American] football and anything else I can find.”

He’s also a member of a church and has five other siblings. One of them is Nathanael Donald Allen, who was also adopted by the Stahlers. 

(20) has been living in America since 2000.

“Most of my first 28 months on this earth were spent living at the Door of Hope Baby House,” says Nathaneal.

He was abandoned on the side of the road in Joburg and was left there for several days with a nappy bag that had only a few items in it.

“Someone saw the high grass moving, and thought it was an injured animal.”

They notified the police and upon investigation, the police found Nathanael and took him to the Baby House at Berea Baptist Church.

“I was severely sunburnt. I cried all the time . . . since my nappy hadn’t be changed, I had severe diaper rash,” he wrote.

He was also told that he trembled constantly for months.

“My dad and mom came all the way from America to retrieve me and my adopted brother, Thomas, who was nine months old at the time.”

In their new home in America, they were welcomed by four grandparents, lots of aunts, uncles, and siblings.

The Stahlers have six children and Nathanael is number five.

He just finished studying car repair at a technical college and serves at church.

He was looking for a job and a flat when he wrote to the organisation in 2018.

He says he loves fishing, surfing, swimming and hunting.

“My dad and I do a lot of things together – we always have.”

“I enjoy my siblings, but sometimes they get on my nerves. That’s okay because I get on their nerves too,” he quipped.

The two brothers can’t stop thanking the Door of Hope.

“Grannies at Door of Hope Baby House make a big difference,” Nathanael.

Thomas is also full of praise for the organisation. The college student says he owes the Door of Hope a great debt.

“Although I was nine months, you gave me a great start through love and care,” he said in his letter.

He also thanked it on behalf of the many babies it’s helped.

“From a helpless baby left in your care to a college student with a family, a church, a home, a job and a car – I am blessed!

“We wouldn’t be where you are without you,” he added.

The Door of Hope’s operations director Nadene Grabham says it’s a great reward for all the staff when they receive such letters or even Christmas cards with photos.

“We don’t often get to see our babies as they get older, so it’s a blessing to see how well they’re doing and how happy and beautiful they are,” she tells YOU.

“It gives us extra enthusiasm to carry us through the difficult times with sick babies or sometimes even the death of a baby.”

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